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Shaken Not Stirred

Major changes, including appointment of a new board, are under way at the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB), recently appointed CEO, Mzwandile Sokupa, tells built.
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Hot on the heels of the five-year review the announcement of the new board announcement should take place in July. The review will be an independent process of the CIDB, which ‘could influence CIDB strategy and direction going forward’.

A review of the CIDB is taken every five years, reports Sokupa, and the one scheduled for later this year is expected to influence a new direction for the national body mandated to oversee the sustainability and growth of construction enterprises across the country.

Sokupa, who took up the position of CEO in December 2013, holds a Masters Degree in housing development and management and has more than 20 years of built industry experience. A quantity surveyor by profession, Sokupa’s most recent portfolio, prior to the CIDB, includes human settlements head at the City of Cape Town and director for capital projects at the Department of Correctional Services.

Dovetailing with his passion for influencing improved service delivery is the determination to focus on community development.

“The escalating number of service delivery protests and rioting is an indication that marginalised areas are in dire need of proper services. The focus should shift from delivering cutting-edge technology to providing efficient services.”

In a bid to better understand labour unrest and promote productive labour, the CIDB is busy commissioning a study which is expected to deliver a preliminary report by 2015 “We need to understand the dynamics surrounding labour unrest, protests and the triggers to instability and how to deal with them in our construction sites,” explains Sokupa.

For the year ahead the CIDB will look to provide strategic leadership in the construction industry, with the aim of fostering sustainable growth. “The CIDB is mandated to regulate the industry. We need to promote skills development and training, and moreover, we need to start applying punitive measures on industry transgressions such as collusion, submitting fraudulent documents and tax certificates.”

Another focus area for the CIDB going forward is establishing ‘best practice’ standards for private and public sector clients. The Minister of Public Works has already launched new standards for the construction industry in October 2013. The standards set the benchmark for contractor development, skills development and for contractor performance on construction contracts.

“Grade 1, the lowest grade in the CIDB register of contractors, makes up around 80% of registered contractors. This amounts to 138 000 of the total 154 000 registered contractors. The grade 2 level consists of 4 900 contractors and grade 3 1600, with grades 4, 5 & 6 averaging around 2 200 contractors each. Grades 7, 8 & 9 average less than 1 000 contractors per grade,” reports Sokupa.

The lowest grade contractors are generally involved in contracts valued between 0 and R200 000.

A third focus area will be to promote uniformity in the application of policy across all spheres of government. Currently there is no standard application of policy.

Finally, the CIDB’s strategy includes developing systematic methods for industry and its stakeholders to improve performance, through industry benchmarks and also to promote transformation in the construction industry. “There is little cross-pollination to impart skills to emerging contractors and provide assistance on large value projects.”

Despite a sluggish industry, Sokupa remains upbeat, firmly believing that a large infrastructure project roll-out is imminent. Government has a huge infrastructure build programme that cuts across strategic integrated projects (SIPs). The proposed infrastructure capital injection by government is expected to invigorate the industry, with the private sector unlocking opportunities, particularly in the mining and agricultural sectors.

“One of the positives is that government is currently debating the infrastructure development bill. The Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission is cracking the whip on government department spend and prioritising SIP roll-out.”

For the year ahead the CIDB will look to provide strategic leadership with the aim of fostering sustainable growth.

The CIDB sets national standards for construction delivery and contracts by means of a Code of Conduct and by standardising construction procurement based on best practice. The CIDB has established and maintains a national register of contractors and a register of projects.


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